Apr 01, Colombo: The Office of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe today said the yesterday's clash between the protesting university students and the police was 'regrettable'.
In a statement issued today, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said its attention was drawn to media reports on Tuesday's clash between the students participating in a protest organized by the Inter University Student Federation (IUSF) and the police near the Temple Trees in Colombo.
Students of the Marxist party JVP affiliated Inter-University Students Union marched from the Sri Jayewardenepura University in Kotte to Temple Trees on Tuesday (March 31)to protest against several issues in the higher education system.
The Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the students when their protest march gathered near the Prime Minister's office, Temple Trees, and blocked the main Galle Road causing a major traffic jam. Several students and police officers were hospitalized with minor injuries following the clash.
The statement said the IUSF had not given prior notice that they were to hand over a memorandum to the Prime Minister's Office. They had only informed that a memorandum would be handed over to the University Grants Commission (UGC).
However, the protesters had suddenly changed their course and arrived in Kollupitiya asking to hand over the memorandum to the Prime Minister's Office.
The PM's office has invited five representatives of the student union to come to the office to hand over the letter but the protesters have disregarded the invitation and clashed with the police resulting in the regrettable situation, the PMO explained.
"The occurrence of such an unfortunate situation is regrettable. However, if the protesters had peacefully allowed their representatives to reach the Prime Minister's Office such a situation would have not arisen," the PMO statement said.